Children too noisy in church

(64 Posts)
SPSGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 22:42:49

I am looking for advice. It has recently become clear that my church are becoming intolerant of the noise made by my two kids 4 and 2. One person had e grace to discuss is with me but others have obviously been discussing this without me. I now hear that they are talking about removing the children's area in the hope that the kids will be quieter. I do my best to keep the noise to a minimum but as I go to church and DH doesn't it is really hard. I have been going to the church for 10 years but don't know what to do. I am starting not to want to go any more. What do I do?

thewhistler Sun 10-Mar-13 22:46:18

You poor thing. It's really hard. What do other children do?

Knowsabitabouteducation Sun 10-Mar-13 22:48:03

Why are your children so noisy? What are they doing?

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 22:49:07

are you with the dc in a separate area at the back of the church? IME most churches have some kind of creche set up for the smallest run by volunteers and a Sunday school where older dc are taken out for part of the service and go into another room. What is the set-up in your church and are there no other families there with dc similar ages to yours?

TomArchersSausage Sun 10-Mar-13 22:50:31

I not a church-goer but mil is. I understand some churches do a family type service where a bit of noise is to be expected from small children.

SPSGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 22:50:47

They play in the children's corner. They draw or play with the toys. DS is in terrible twos so knows how to stretch the limits. Even when I try and read quietly to them they can speak loudly. I guess they Re used to being loud at nursery. DS has taken to playing with e votive candles

difficultpickle Sun 10-Mar-13 22:51:52

What does your vicar say? Ds was noisy in church when he was little and he and the other children were subjected to much tutting from some others in the congregation. He was christened when he was 6 months and has been a churchgoer ever since.I remember once when ds stood in the aisle and danced during one of the hymns. I apologised to the vicar who told me that he loved seeing children in his church and to ignore the ttuting and comments. Ds went on to be a choir boy at the church and now is a cathedral chorister.

I think it is very sad if the vicar supports removing the children's area. If that happened at our church I would be taking my custom elsewhere.

500internalerror Sun 10-Mar-13 22:52:52

Talking about it behind your back doesn't sound very Christian to me. They are either intolerant of something perfectly normal, or they are unwilling to offer a hand of help to you when you could do with it. Either way, there are loads of lovely churches that are very family focused...

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 22:54:17

depends what denomination it is who you would approach but assuming COE, maybe have a word with the vicar and say you're concerned you are disturbing people and you 're not sure how best to handle it

difficultpickle Sun 10-Mar-13 22:55:02

At our Sunday morning service the children who have been to Sunday school join half way through the service but the vicar makes it clear that children are welcome for the whole service.

ReallyTired Sun 10-Mar-13 22:59:19

I think that you need to look for another church if your children are not welcome. Most churches have a family service where a bit of noise is to be expected. There are lots of churches who bend over backward to accodomodate their more active parishioners.

At our church children are welcome at the 9.30 service, but not the 8am service or evening song. If people don't like children then they should not attend the family service.

Children need to feel happy and welcome otherwise they will hate church. It is not realistic to expect a two or a four year old to sit still.

I agree with bisjo that it would be very sad if the vicar supports removing the children's area. It send out a terrible message to families that they aren't welcome.

SPSGirl Sun 10-Mar-13 23:03:59

Sadly our church doesn't run to a Sunday school. With only 4 kids attending regularly. Guess I will have to talk to the house for duty vicar.

I would suggest two things. Firstly tell the vicar that people have been talking about you and your children behind your back and it makes you feel unwelcome in the fellowship. See what s/he does. Secondly - look at some other churches and see if you can feel happy somewhere else. Perhaps somewhere that embraces young dcs as a full part of our fellowship and accepts it's our collective job to nurture and lead them, not only the job of the parent to keep them quiet!

ZZZenAgain Sun 10-Mar-13 23:08:19

oh I see, with only 4 dc attending and two of them yours, it isn't really much of a family church. Ours has around 70 dc attending regularly so that is very different. You have been going for 10 years and dc are the future of the church, aren't they so no one should have an interest in alienating you. Hope your vicar can help. Maybe the 4 year old can have some little role?

Wolfiefan Sun 10-Mar-13 23:11:28

I take my 3 year old DD. We go to a family service. She sits on her seat, on my lap or plays in the kids corner.
I talk quietly to her and she understands it is a time to be quiet. I also take colouring, toys, books and yes snacks too. The kids all have actions to do and instruments to shake during hymns.
It does sound like your church is not very DC friendly. What a shame. Who do they think will fill the pews in 10-20 years time?!?

I had to bring ds1 last week when dd was serving (catholic). He has SN so can be difficult.

Our priest was lovely, showed ds1 what was in all the drawers in the sacristy while dd got robed up.

Ds1 then spent all of mass tapping benches, lying on the floor and generally being troublesome.... No-one batted an eye.

You need a new church, one that is genuinely family orientated. Or else leave the kids with dh whilst you go (my usual approach)

hiddenhome Sun 10-Mar-13 23:35:32

I got chucked out of church once because ds2 was making a bit of noise at the back. Sod it, I left in tears and didn't return.

I hope you find some way of resolving this. The CofE is too stuck up imo hmm

VenusRising Sun 10-Mar-13 23:44:00

Not just the CofE IMHO.
It's sad isn't it that people can be so unkind - especially Christians! You'd expect them to be accepting and welcoming, not carping and bitching behind your back, and not asking how that can help you out.

Tbh it's why I left the church, as I was just too upset at the attitudes towards normal childish behaviour. Children are children, not mini adults- either they are part of the community, or they are not. If not, I would go elsewhere to introduce them to a loving and tolerant god.

I hate hypocritical and bigoted behaviour- it's unfortunate that some Christians exhibit the worst of it.

LittlePushka Mon 11-Mar-13 00:31:18

Hiddenhome that is terrible.... I am shocked by there people - Whatever happened to "Suffer the little children to come unto me"??

SPSGirl, I know that these people have made you feel uncomfortable. However,.... I think that if, when the issue arrises during the service, you try to banish what other (deeply narrow minded and intolerant) people think and concentrate on what Jesus thought, then at points at which you feel embarrassed, you will get through that moment. For sure, quiet type toys(pencils little torches blah blah blah) produced at may help you manage your children through what will seen to them, perhaps, a boring eternity. But, the basic premise of kids is that they are noisy unless they are seriously seriously ill. So thank the Lord yours are audible I'd say!!

If the others in the congregation cannot get through it then they frankly ought to be reminded of what exactly it means to follow Jesus. (And I would advocate simply telling them!) I simply cannot belive that the behaviour of a child was radically different 2000 years ago. I seriously belive that if Jesus came to your church, he would gather up the four to right right by him, and that his preaching would be wholly inclusive and celebratory of them...RIGHT IN THE FACE of people who are judgemetnal about children participating in worship. (And yes, I would probably high five him on the way out which would hack off the traditionalists, though bemuse JC I think!winkn

You and your children have no less right to worship that folk without children. And nor is there any "right" way to worship. if you have a selection of churches to worship in locally try them all out - I do not think that the denomination of christian worship matters so much as finding a warm and welcoming Christian congregation. So try out the methodists, the evangelists the catholics - anybody (not Christian as such, but perhaps Quakers may not be terribly receptive!)

Alternatively, flood your church with a posse of your mates with pre-shcoolers every week for a month. keep the faith! wink

Sorry for the rant - am very cross with your congregation. grrrr

coupleswithtroublesTHERAPIST Mon 11-Mar-13 03:56:46

You've been going to this church for 10 years?
That's a long time and then they dare to treat you like that! You must feel horrible.

This isn't the way a good christian should behave. Kids do make noise. You simply can't expect them to sit still during the whole service. One day it might go well and the other..... no so well.

Matthew 19:14
Jesus, however, said: “Let the young children alone, and stop hindering them from coming to me, for the kingdom of the heavens belongs to suchlike ones.”

God loves children, children do make noise, I guess then that He doesn't mind the noise they make. If He does, then He should have created them differently.

The church I go to they have a special room for the children. There you can go to and still be able to follow the service. You can bring something for your child. Like a coloring book and usually the other people are also very nice with children.

Once my eldest was very noisy. A lady asked if he wanted to sit next to her. He wanted that and he was happy and quite throughout the service.

I've seen so much of these so called Christians. I think we all have. Even if you never have been to church we've seen the reports of child abuse to often in the news papers.
It's sick and horrible that people mistreat the faith for there own sick thoughts.

My personal advice:
Tell the vicar what happened and how you feel about it. If there is anything he could do about it.
Or just go and find another church.

I think in every church you'll find people who just are there, but don't believe nor act like a good Christian.
But there's a difference between one person being like that. Or a lot of them that talk behind your back about the noise of your children.

I wouldn't want to stay in the middle of these people.

Take care,

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 11-Mar-13 06:10:28

Everyone here is assuming the OP's children were not particularly noisy, even though no one was there.

Does anyone think there is a point where children are just too noisy?

Should a 4 year old not be able to stay quiet when told?

It isn't actually that hard to bring your children up to use indoor voices in church, or anywhere else where there are other people to consider (restaurants, library, doctors' waiting room...).

Saying that, they aren't exactly getting a lot out of the service if all they are doing is playing with toys at the back or colouring. It's not what the Christian faith is about. I would recommend going to a church with vibrant children's work, where they can worship and learn at their own level.

MaryBS Mon 11-Mar-13 09:00:58

They don't sound very tolerant SPSGirl. If you are doing your best to keep the noise down, they need to be more accepting. Are there any other children that go?

BranchingOut Mon 11-Mar-13 09:02:29

I think that sometimes setting up a play area at the back can be a bit counterproductive, as then that leads to more lively behaviour.

Then again, do really young children get much out of it? Week in, week out. Plus the distraction to your own prayer etc.

If they just went with you once a month then maybe they would experience some of the specialness of going to church and see it as a bit of a privilege or treat, especially if there is food served afterwards! Could your DH look after them some weeks?

hiddenhome Mon 11-Mar-13 09:38:14

When mine were younger, I'd just let them play quietly on their nintendos (with the sound turned down). They managed fine. I think people are intolerant of toddlers in particular. The church I was struggling with was just run of the mill CofE, but most of the congregation were elderly and I was just glared at sad Rotten old ladies angry

They had a Sunday school, but your children couldn't join that until they were about 5. They opened up the choir vestry at the back of church for the toddlers, but if any toddler happened to venture out of it and made any noise whatsoever you were glared and tutted at. ds1 wasn't out of hand or anything, he was just playing around the pews a bit because the room was boring. I left in tears and the minister's wife followed me out and tried to comfort me a bit, but didn't invite me back in. It was horrible.

I've returned to the Catholic Church now and we have lots of babies/toddlers all making noise and nobody bats an eyelid. We have a childrens' session in the vestry and they return to their parents just before communion, so they're included in the service. It's lovely and no one minds if there's noise or the children are pottering about. They never get out of hand, it's just a bit of background playing etc. It's far more tolerant and feels much happier and there's nobody who's 'stuck up'. My children are older now, so can keep quite, but I'd never judge anybody with littlies because they do make some noise and it's only natural. Church services are boring for them. I can recommend taking pencils and colouring in and perhaps a small electronic device to play a few games on, discreet snacks too smile

ReallyTired Mon 11-Mar-13 09:43:13

"Then again, do really young children get much out of it? Week in, week out. Plus the distraction to your own prayer etc."

The young children become part of a community. They make friends with people within the church and see going to church as part of life.

"If they just went with you once a month then maybe they would experience some of the specialness of going to church and see it as a bit of a privilege or treat, especially if there is food served afterwards! Could your DH look after them some weeks? "

That is the thin edge of the wedge. If children are taken to church once a month then it tends to drift to being main festivals only. Colds, hobbies, life and general apathy gets in the way. Inevitably children who attend church so little do not see themselves as christians and do not attend church as adults.

I feel the church needs to look at ways of reaching out to families if its going to survive in the 21st century. Children and families need to feel happy and welcome in church. People who want silent and digified church services have other options like an 8am service or mid day services or evensong.

MaryBS Mon 11-Mar-13 09:52:37

I was acting as acolyte once (as for that week we had no servers), when we had a runaway toddler, who was a bit too close to the freestanding altar candles that stand in front of the nave altar. The mother wasn't a regular, and was reluctant to retrieve in such a public way. I just scooped him up and handed him back, whispered "don't worry" and we carried on.

Totally agree with reallytired about bringing them every week. I can't see how it can be seen as a treat to bring them once a month, what is more likely to happen is that they "kick off" about going that once a month "why do we have to go, we don't normally". Whereas if its part of normal family life, they fit in more easily.

thewhistler Mon 11-Mar-13 10:27:08

Ds once screamed all the way to the altar all through a choir singing beautifully.

We have always had old people tut tutting and even mums of beautifully behaved dds. But the various hierarchy are v clear that the children are of the congregation now, not just of the future.

See if the 4 year old can be given tiny tasks, like helping to take round a collection.

Start a Sunday school, we call it junior church, and combine with creche. Get a retired person or two to help run it, on a rota. You'll soon turn them round and they will be proud of it. If you advertise it, you'll get more. Parents important to be there while children are little.

I've always admired the catholic church for its child tolerant services, a direct effect of the teaching on contraception, I think. If you assume that every family ought to have 8 children minimum then you have to accept them!

Kaekae Mon 11-Mar-13 10:39:03

I think it is time to find another church. I used to go to a church which had a later family service and it was fantastic. Very noisy and full of buzz. My son loved it, the children had a big involvement in the service. We then moved but our local church do not hold a family service and do not like children making noise so we no longer go to church. Trying to find a weekly family service is difficult.

marjproops Mon 11-Mar-13 10:42:49

Have you thought about starting a sunday school yourself? or ask the vicar to suggest it to the congregation maybe do a rota for childcaring (need to be CRB checked).

it IS difficult as when i was a child we were expected to be silent during church and we were kids so were wriggly and bored. we didnt have any sort of sunday school.

On the other hand, thankfully DC likes church and on another view, i think its a bit disrespectful of parents to let their kids run around the church(during the WHOLE service) and talk and shout when the preacher at the front has worked hard to provide the service, and is trying to talk above them,the musicians have practised and the stewards etc and people want to come and hear the preacher, not kids messing about. its disrespectful to the elders. there is usually a 'young peoples' 5 minute during the service where they get them involved and then in my church theres sunday school and creche.

I know its difficult with wriggly kids andf they should feel wanted and welcome, but if theyre playing up they should be taken out for a bit for a runaround or something, as a parent you're not able to concentrate anyway on the service if you're watching the kids, (and btw some people without offspring cant always make other services)

only other suggestion if its the terrible twos is leave 2 year old with your husband for now and maybe try again when older?

swings and roundabouts, I know.

marjproops Mon 11-Mar-13 10:49:18

BTW just looking through these posts, PLEASE do not start a Catholic/Protestant war here, Ive been to BOTH types and BOTH have good and not so good services/congregations/sunday schools/creches/priests and vicars., etc.

Dont , please with the 'were better than you. THAT is not Christian at all, we're all one body, one God.

There are no denominations in Heaven. Thank you. Bless you ALL.

niminypiminy Mon 11-Mar-13 11:16:40

I wonder if talking to the Vicar about it might not be the very thing she or he has been praying for. Maybe she or he would like to attract more families with children to come to church, and would actually like to find ways to make your church family friendly? This could be the moment when you could do something which would change the way your church is and make it more welcoming. (Also, you don't say whether you live in a town or a village, OP, but if you are in a rural community it is sometimes not so easy to find a new church! But it would be better to change the church you are in rather than to change churches.

marissab Mon 11-Mar-13 13:03:40

It's certainly not just CofE. We have a fantastically tolerant CofE church that is very accepting. And my friend was asked to leave the methodist church we have both attended since childhood because her children were noisy. Good and bad everywhere.

hiddenhome Mon 11-Mar-13 13:12:17

Don't want to start a war sad I was just comparing the two churches because there was such a difference. I'm sure most CofE Churches are fine, it's just this one that has a high proportion of intolerant, middle class pensioners.

Theas18 Mon 11-Mar-13 13:30:13

Yup talk to the vicar and see what the response is. a church that can't see that, regardless of the biblical references to children which are manifold and pretty much universally welcoming, a church without children is a dying church.

Your church should be like coming home. Yes it's special but in away that makes you relax and feel supported and uplifted, not stressed and anxious.

If they can't make it work for you and feel you need to bend to their ways " because it's always been like that" find a happier community.

Nothing made me feel happier on sunday that a baby hiccuping and a toddler brumming cars on the pew!

BOF Mon 11-Mar-13 13:51:12

It's like cafes and restaurants though, isn't it? "Management welcomes well-behaved children". If you are audibly reading to them during the service, you can't be getting much out of it either, surely? I would leave them at home with their father until they are older and can concentrate more.

mungotracy Mon 11-Mar-13 13:53:32

Stop taking your children until they can sit through a service and understand and listen?

mungotracy Mon 11-Mar-13 13:54:48

"There are no denominations in Heaven" Thats because the winning religious ticket was 'the mormons' Southpark said so.

niminypiminy Mon 11-Mar-13 14:00:14

Church can be a great place for children. It's not just about sitting still and listening. Here's a list of some of the things that children can get out of being at church:

They can be part of a loving community
They can take part in worship
They can pray
They can learn about the Christian tradition
They can eat after-service biscuits

None of those need be accomplished by sitting still and listening!

Abra1d Mon 11-Mar-13 14:02:51

I've always admired the catholic church for its child tolerant services, a direct effect of the teaching on contraception, I think. If you assume that every family ought to have 8 children minimum then you have to accept them!'

Keeping the children in the church throughout is the problem. You are giving them mixed messages: here are some play things but at the same time I can't really play the way I would normally because I have to be quiet.

children are handled quite ruthlessly in a way in many Catholic churches. They go into children's liturgy for at least half the service, out of the main church. There are often sound-proof side chapels and porches you are expected to retreat to if your children are noisy. Some children do find the sitting quietly and still much harder than others. My daughter fidgets and drops things. I have found that most people are sympathetic if they can see you are really trying your best. On occasions I have just taken a child out for ten minutes to give everyone a break from the noise we are making.

mungotracy Mon 11-Mar-13 14:20:54

/insert tounge in cheek

Here's a list of some of the things that children can get out of being at church:

They can be part of a cult and indoctrinated to be intolerant of every other religion at an early age
They can take part in worship of a graven idol of a man being tortured slowly to death.
They can pray and learn that any good they do is by gods grace but that any wrong is their fault
They can learn about the Christian tradition that people are tortured to death because you sinned.
They can eat after-service biscuits and the catholics sometiimes have wine.

/remove tounge

MadHairDay Mon 11-Mar-13 14:50:45

No need for that on this thread really, mungo, tongue inserted or not.

OP, I tend to agree with niminy. You could turn this into a positive, possibly, by it being the catalyst for a shift in thinking by the church and maybe the start of something that might attract families.

It makes me sad when I hear of your experience and hidden's. No wonder some churches are dying on their feet with such attitude. They say they want their church to keep going yet make no effort to welcome the people who will make that happen.

I love a church full of noisy children. This is the way it should be. If your vicar or church is not willing to change OP it may be worth searching for somewhere who will welcome you. There are plenty of vibrant churches with lots of families out there (inc plenty of CofE)

Abra1d Mon 11-Mar-13 15:21:36

Yup. No children probably means the church will be a carpark or converted into flats within twenty years.

JandT Mon 11-Mar-13 15:24:21

SPSGirl - I'm really sorry you had this experience, we had something similar so I thought I'd share.

My (very traditional/catholic CofE) church is welcoming of children however, there are the 'few' who don't like the noise etc. DS2 (aged 18 months) decided to do a runner to the front of church, DH stupidly trusted that DS2 would stop hmm. Before that, he'd been good at walking around at the back of church but, I know my parents would have told me if they could hear him. Anyhow, churchwarden told me after that people were finding him distracting and he was making too much noise. I replied that I was glad we went to such a child friendly church and then cried all the way home when no-one from church could see.

DH emailed both churchwardens and PCC chair (no Vicar at that point) asking that we did something for small children. Nice churchwarden and PCC chair both replied saying they were open to ideas/improvements and that they were upset that I'd been upset (we knew the nasty churchwarden wouldn't have mentioned it to them). From then on, small children were welcome to go to Sunday School and run around/make noise. We also have a crèche which a year later (mainly due to new Vicar, his wife and I having a 'moment') has been updated for the first time in 40 years. The crèche thing caused conversation in PCC with someone arguing what would we do if it brought lots of noisy children into church-Vicar replied that he'd still say Mass, just a bit louder grin. Still only two people that I know of who find it a problem and a lot of other (less grumbly hence quieter) people who love my crazy child and remind me how much he takes after me (apparently I was known as Little Miss Wrigglebottom for a while...).

Please don't give up for the sake of a few grumbly people who need to be shaken up and made to question/remember why they go to church. I know it makes you feel paranoid of every cough/giggle they make but that feeling goes. Speak to your Vicar, speak to the churchwardens, explain you want to keep coming but it is difficult if you know 'other people' find them distracting. Ask for their advice and prayer. It could be there is someone sitting quietly who has been waiting for the opportunity to do something for your children.

(As an aside I should probably say that DH is going to train to be a priest soon so does a little preaching at our church. Preached on the importance of children in church just after the incident. Also, as 'Vicar's Wife' I am going to make sure my children are the noisiest so that no-one else feels bad. grin

MadHairDay Mon 11-Mar-13 15:37:42

Too right, JandT, us Vicars Spouse types have to keep up the tradition of the Vicars kids being the worst behaved grin (I don't seem to have a problem with helping that happen with mine)

thewhistler Mon 11-Mar-13 17:46:45

In one CofE church we went to, the vicar's son's red ball ended up in the chancel. The vicar, no mean footballer, shunted it softly back while continuing. I remember that with affection.

Yes, I agree that things can feel ruthless, but I think it is great to be part of that community early. It is different from school and friends and gives you a different perspective.

PedroPonyLikesCrisps Mon 11-Mar-13 19:32:55

"high proportion of intolerant, middle class pensioners."

I'm not a Christian but I've been to a fair few services for various reasons. I must say, I'm yet to attend a church where the vast majority were not in the category stated above. But that does fit in with the average demographic of Christians in this country today, so I guess it's no surprise.

SPSGirl Mon 11-Mar-13 20:35:21

Thanks everyone for your advice and support. I will speak to he vicar. Sadly In a small country congregation of 30 I don't think views will change much.

BOF Mon 11-Mar-13 20:45:03

Are you not able to consider leaving the children at home with their father? Or at least the younger one?

Jaynebxl Mon 11-Mar-13 21:30:56

I would agree with Kaekae and look for another church. It sounds like this one just isn't suitable for you at this stage in life. It would be good to look for something where you AND your children are welcome and where the children won't be seen as a burden. So many churches around have great sunday schools and the kids would get so much more out of it, leaving you to get more out of it all.

cloutiedumpling Mon 11-Mar-13 21:43:11

It is shit when people are so uppity about small kids. I've had folk tutting at me about my DCs before too and it is upsetting. I think some congregations just get so unused to having small kids that it comes as a shock to them to realise that they make noise. Hopefully the vicar will have a word with the people involved and they'll see sense.

difficultpickle Mon 11-Mar-13 21:48:29

Stop taking your children until they can sit through a service and understand and listen

If those were the criteria for church attendance there would be no children in church and quite a few adults wouldn't be able to attend either.

elfycat Wed 13-Mar-13 15:13:06

When DD1 was young I took her to a tiny local church. the vicar (army padre) would say that children were free to make as much noise and run around, but would the adults please refrain. DD1 started playing peekaboo at him around the pew and he kept getting the giggles until everyone was laughing. A proper child friendly church.

Then I moved to a small town. Tried taking a 3 year old and 1 year old but they would make noise and not stay put. Not helped by the second 'family' service on a Sunday turning out to be a 1.5 hour ordeal some weeks. I get told it's lovely to have children there, and it's fine that they make noise. But it's said brittely not indulgently. And it's not me being paranoid about our welcome. I've heard it several times from other people with small children. I think the main vicar isn't a people person at all. I want to get DD2 christened but need to find another church.

Kendodd Wed 13-Mar-13 15:18:19

I'd just find another church were children are welcome.

blackeyedsusan Thu 14-Mar-13 00:02:26

ds has asd... he does not have an indoor voice, nor, until recently, could I peel him away from my leg to stay in creche/sunday school. I found that keeping his mouth occupied with other things seemed to reduce the noise. (though carrot sticks do result in orange poo on monday grin)

we left one church due to their attitude about the children. this one is much better and only one persistant glarer.

RuckAndRoll Mon 18-Mar-13 09:34:56

SPSGirl I really sympatise. We've been slowly coming to the realisation this weekend that the church we've been going to for 4 years is really anti children 'seen and not heard' type attitude. Our first DC is due in the summer and I'm already freaking out about taking it down as a tiny baby incase it cries.

We have a foyer with baby toys and sound looped to the main church so you can still see and hear the service, and a Sunday School so the outward facing bit is very welcoming, but underneath they don't want children there. I'm not looking forward to spending my whole time sat in the foyer with the toddlers incase the baby cries.

I've been told that sitting in the foyer is acceptable, even if the baby is asleep, because if it wakes and cries it'll disturb others. I spoke to our rector who said anyone who complains, send to her, but at the moment I'm a hormal mess and don't have the strength to fight it.

Anyway, hope you find a solution for you. It's really hard as in 20 years, who will still be there? Not the elderly congregation currently complaining.

mummytime Mon 18-Mar-13 09:53:21

""high proportion of intolerant, middle class pensioners."

I'm not a Christian but I've been to a fair few services for various reasons. I must say, I'm yet to attend a church where the vast majority were not in the category stated above. But that does fit in with the average demographic of Christians in this country today, so I guess it's no surprise."

I have to say that none of the churches I am involved in could be described this way, not even the Cathedral. Most people in all the congregations are middle aged, not pensioners. Yes probably most are middle class, but I live in a very middle class area; at places like Spring Harvest I have met a lot of working class Christians.
Intolerant - some are, but not most. The Cathedral is one of the most tolerant places, although there are far fewer children so their noise is more obvious. Actually the people who get most stressed are the grandparents of children being Baptised (who often aren't real regulars but like to get their Grandchildren Baptised at a Cathedral).

Jaynebxl Mon 18-Mar-13 11:36:57

I'm with you mummytime. Our church has about a hundred people and only two are over 60. About 30 are teens and the rest are families. We sometimes go to stuff at our village church which does have a lot of older people but also has loads of kids, families, etc.

I would definitely go find a more family friendly church, there seem to be plenty around.

Knowsabitabouteducation Mon 18-Mar-13 20:57:05

We have about 400 children in our church and it is absolute chaos until they go out to their groups.

I always feel sorry for people who visit for the first time (we are a fairly ordinary parish church in a town of 10000). I think they go right back out again.

thewhistler Tue 19-Mar-13 22:50:53

I do sympathise because on the outside the church we go to is like that, with a glass narthex and that is what I felt like when Ds was small. On one occasion he screamed all the way to the communion rail. Loudly. Through a visiting choir's careful piece de resistance.

But actually, the congregation that attends the family service is more tolerant than I would have believed.

We did the prodigal son in the vestry recently and there was a sugar rush as we feasted and some of the children came out oinking in their pig masks and then oinked up for a blessing. They also oinked in the pews. The only people who complained were in their 30s. Everyone else giggled.

The congregation is delighted to see the number of children and young parents increasing.

thewhistler Tue 19-Mar-13 22:52:26

knowsabit, how do you get so many? All the Sunday schools are closing near us. Any tips?

Knowsabitabouteducation Wed 20-Mar-13 17:23:27

We don't have 400 children at every Sunday, but we have about 400 children on our books. We probably see 200 on any given Sunday. It is still chaotic at the start of the service!

We have a big church family because we are evangelical in teaching, and have four services every Sunday catering for every worship style. Our modern music attracts young families, along with relational children's and youth work. We have have five ordained clergy and a whole host of readers/pastoral assistants who can provide the right level of pastoral care in our parish and beyond.

We divide our church family into pastorates where people can study and fellowship together on a more intimate scale.

We work hard to ensure that we are serving our local community.

thewhistler Wed 20-Mar-13 18:50:06

V impressive

MarvellousYou Wed 20-Mar-13 19:09:35

During worship in our church, the children run around like loons (there's space at the back) but we make sure they are quiet if there is a reading or someone gives a testimony.

It's a lively 'happy clappy' church (evangelical/charismatic) quite reserved/ middle class (so room for people to grumble, maybe) but when I first joined the church I remember the elder prayed for more children in our church- God answered! We've had to move creche and sunday school into bigger rooms.

Find a church that doesn't tolerate gossip and that loves it's children, tantrums and all- in my limited experience attitude normally flows from the head down into the congregation. There's nothing more lovely than seeing children spontaneously clap and dance to a song (even if they don't always comprehend who they're dancing/singing for!)

Hope you and your children find a more tolerant church family soon x

noisytoys Wed 20-Mar-13 19:36:25

I just left a church that isn't tolerant of children. It was heartbreaking because it was the church I grew up in, but since going to the new church and seeing the difference and how welcoming they are of everyone, I realise I should have made the move a long time ago

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